Welcome to Your New Role in HR!

Posted By: Eric Melnyczenko AASPA Blog,

How many of us have stepped into a new role in HR and found it exciting, you just can’t wait to hit the ground running or [insert your own catchy saying here]?

Job transitions are absolutely exciting and nerve-wracking. We get to take what we’ve learned, experiences from other positions, and bring it with us to positively impact a new group of employees, which in turn, impacts students.

The first days you get acclimated to the new office, meet the department, the rest of the staff. And, then, it begins…

What I will unceremoniously call “peeling the onion.”

You start asking questions, learning from people that have been here and lived the experience. You hear phrases like “past practice” or “we’ve always done it this way,” which drive your blood pressure through the roof. But, you grin and bear it, knowing that here’s your chance to make a change.

But, you’ve just started and you’re already going to make changes a few days or weeks into your new job? Isn’t that what our leadership classes or books have taught us not to do? What if when you took your new job and learned about some practice that was being done, you found yourself muttering a very famous, three-letter phrase?

Whiskey-tango-foxtrot, anyone?

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to make changes right away. It really is!

Now, what you change and how you go about changing are much more complex than saying it’s okay to make changes. Maybe I should have qualified my, “It’s okay to make changes right away,” statement with that?

If we focus the change in the right way, we can be that superhero ready to snap the villain of stagnation and complacency into dust and restore humanity, right?

So, where do we begin?

Begin with your team!

Oftentimes, your new team is going to be the greatest source of inspiration for change. Honestly, they’re probably the ones who want it the most. Look for the so-called “low hanging fruit” and provide your new team with the insight that you are a person of action. If a problem comes to you, you can and will figure out a solution. And, giving the person bringing you the change an opportunity to participate in the change is even better! Provide the individual insight
into your change methodology and hope to empower them to bring about the solution to a future problem.

Empower others!

Once you have worked with your team, they may know where they need to go but need your blessing. They’ll keep coming to you in the beginning maybe because they’re unsure of themselves or maybe they were previously micromanaged. No matter the reason why, you know you cannot do everything and that you have a team to support you in your role. How can you give your team that spark of being innovative to support your organization and the
employees you serve? Look for ways to motivate them to deliver on meaningful work for the organization. And, above all, make sure you recognize those team members. Seeing the smile on their face or face flush red when they get that public acknowledgment is both proof of a job well done and appreciation of their acknowledgment.

Know that not everything is going to be a win…

I could have titled this part, “Ground yourself in reality,” but it’s true. Not all changes are going to be winners. It is what you learn from the process that will set you up for a win the next time. Was there a problem in planning the change? Were there execution problems? Was the change not studied enough before a decision was made? Were there miscommunications along the way? Whatever happened, figure out what went wrong. Triage the response and try again.

Be the model that you’ve always wanted to be!

No, I’m not talking about America’s Next Top Model. I’m talking about being a risk-taker. When it comes to improving the organization, we all encourage our team to take risks, right? Well, your team needs to take their lead from you. If you’re happy with the status quo, why should your team look to change anything? They need to see you bringing up these stale, outdated practices as opportunities for improvement. You need to lead that change charge otherwise
your team will not know that it’s okay to change. They will continue to do “what we’ve always done.” Blast that mantra away like the dust in your keyboard using the can of compressed air! Take a stand for what you believe will better the working lives of your team and of your whole organization and then run wild like Hulkamania!